Over spring break I had the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles in order to check out several Christian colleges and universities my daughter is considering attending in the fall. (She will not be too excited about me making this public, but I am willing to run that risk because this is worth sharing.) We had scoped them out on-line in advance and prepared an itinerary, so that over the course of the six days we were in Southern California, we could spend time at each campus.
We toured Azusa Pacific University, a large Christian University (with over 9,000 students on two campuses!) in Azusa, California, which is east of L.A. The campus was beautiful and the school has some highly recognized and sought after programs. But it just didn’t feel “right.”
We also toured Westmont Christian College in Santa Barbara. Wow! What a beautiful campus, nestled in the hills above Santa Barbara, over-looking the ocean! This was a school of about 1,300 students and besides being beautiful, it was also place where their Christian worldview was very evident. While we were there, we had the opportunity to meet with their cross-country coach (my daughter hopes to run cross-country while in college). While meeting with him, the coach actually interviewed my daughter. She felt put on the spot by this and afterwards it was this feeling that turned her off the idea of attending at Westmont.
While she was turned off, I was so impressed. Both with the fact that the coach of a great program (Westmont has won a couple of NAIA Division 2 National Cross-Country Championships) was willing to make room in his busy schedule to meet with us and interview my daughter, and I was even more impressed by how well my daughter handled herself through the interview. The coach asked her the questions we expected about her athletic and academic performances, and then he threw her a curveball. He asked her about her faith walk and her relationship with her Saviour.
I know she felt as though she did not answer well, but I was very proud of her and I would argue she responded eloquently and with sincerity. I also firmly believe she was able to respond so well to all of the coach’s questions, in part, because of how well her school prepared her. As a parent, I am impressed with what my children are learning at ACS and how well they can articulate their faith as well as how well they can engage other people in meaningful conversations. I think the projects and presentations that our students work through during their time at ACS gives them the skills and insights they need for “life out there.”
In the end, my daughter is leaning toward attending another school, Providence Christian College in Pasadena. It is very small, but in her words, “It feels like home.” I am more than okay with her choice because I know that wherever she goes, she will be going with an excellent foundation already in place.